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Diving The Shield Archaic

Discussion in 'Canadian Wreck Preservation' started by Scott McWilliam, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. Scott McWilliam

    Scott McWilliam Contributor

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    Mind you find a pit on the top of a cliff we have to rethink our model . . . IMG_9816.jpg
     
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  2. Scott McWilliam

    Scott McWilliam Contributor

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    The Mouth Of the Pic River.

    We had found a number of shipwrecks using a video sonar and Ryan got in touch and we went to assist the Ontario Provincial Police at the mouth of the Pic River. Beach ice was deposited in a long ridge along the shoreline. Three native Canadian commercial fishermen had one of those great norther tragedies on the lake a couple of days earlier. They were fishing from an open steel hull boat with a small net lifter up at the bow. The fishing had been good and they hauled in a couple of nets and gone back to the river moth were they had parked their truck. One man stayed on shore and cleaned fish and packed them, he was using beach ice in his fish crates. He had a block of ice in the back of his truck and chopped it up with a hatchet. He had come out to lift the nets that had been left in the water and he left shortly after we arrived. He knew what we were there for.

    The other two men went out to lift the rest of the net and they were about a half mile near a small island when things went horribly wrong. The net lifter began to sputter and run out of gas. They had a bad habit of filling the net lifter with gas without shutting it off. The man on shore watched them fill the net lifter and then inadvertently set a steel fuel container down on the 12 volt car battery they were using to start the net lifer motor with, which should have been in a battery box but was not. The battery arced the fuel ignited. One man swam a hundred and fifty yards shedding boots and clothing as he went. The second man stayed with the boat which filled with water. It had some floatation and it did not sink right alway but floated with the bow up and the stern down for hours.

    The OPP recovery unit found the man who had tried to swim for it. We were never able to locate the other man or the boat. Thinking about field work in that part of the province little things like that come back to you. You do not want to mess up in the near north, you are on your own when you are up there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
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  3. Jared0425

    Jared0425 Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Detroit, Michigan
    1,180
    848
    How many wrecks did you find? My files only indicate Whaleback #115 was lost off the river. Maybe they were scuttled or commercial fishing vessels? I cannot even find wrecks near the town of Marathon.
     
  4. Scott McWilliam

    Scott McWilliam Contributor

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    I found six around the Welcome Islands including the Gray Oak and the Green River. Ryan Leblanc, had at that time also found six including 115.
     
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  5. Scott McWilliam

    Scott McWilliam Contributor

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  6. Scott McWilliam

    Scott McWilliam Contributor

    167
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  7. Scott McWilliam

    Scott McWilliam Contributor

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    There is an antidotal Pukaskwa story. The small tug in the photograph is also named the Pukaskwa. At one time there was a Pukaskwa lumber company and they owned a couple of boats including this tug. This is the second or third wreck we found at the Welcome Islands. I would like to tell you about the years of hard work and diligent research that goes into finding a shipwreck. In this case however. We had found a wreck, the Green River and had just finished one of our first dives on that wreck. We had unhooked from the wreck and we were dragging our anchor barbequing ribs when we dragged our hook into the Pukaskwa and had to dive another new wreck. Sometimes you get lucky. IMG_9896.jpg
     
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  8. Jared0425

    Jared0425 Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Detroit, Michigan
    1,180
    848
    I can relate to you about how much time and effort it takes to locate lost wrecks. Are any of the wrecks you and your associates found intact?
     
  9. Scott McWilliam

    Scott McWilliam Contributor

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    They were all intact.
     
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  10. Scott McWilliam

    Scott McWilliam Contributor

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    Final (2).jpg Still hammering away at the formal draft of this paper, but I thought I would share a sketch by artist Ben Lowery. I like the drawing and think it does a good job of getting the pit construction process across to viewer. Ben was introduce to me by long time Great Lakes wreck diver Cal Kothrade a fine artist who knew the right guy. It is always surprising how contacts in the diving community prove helpful when looking for specialized skill sets.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
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